Road Construction I-540
Traveling West on I-40? To avoid construction delays, do not take Exit 7 (I-540 S). Stay on I-40 west and take Exit 1 Dora. Stay on Hwy 64D for 6 miles and follow signs to Fort Smith. After crossing over the river, turn right on 4th ST & right on Garland. More »
Attack on the Bigelows
In 1833, Fort Smith put a new slant to the old saying: never bring a knife to a gun fight! One of the more interesting if not wildest bar fights occurred in August of that year. Earlier in the year, the fort had received a new commanding officer, Captain John Stuart. He knew that his major responsibility was to keep liquor out of Indian Territory and prevent its distribution to the Indians, but he was not prepared for what he would find in Fort Smith. Stuart was appalled at conditions in the town. In a letter to his superiors he wrote that "drunken Indians were seen in every direction; some hooping, some crying and others fighting." Within a few hours of his arrival he observed that a number of his own troops were intoxicated and by the next day even more of his men were in the same condition.
This sketch is part of a series, “Fort Smith Minutes,” originally developed by the park staff to provide one minute long public service announcements for local radio stations. These sketches provide a light and entertaining glimpse into the complex history of Fort Smith.
Did You Know?
The soldiers who came to Fort Smith in 1817 were still using some 18th century technology and drill. The cannon was discharged using a lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the primer, which originally was loose powder or a turkey quill filled with powder.